Friday, November 21, 2008

Color Theory 10 - Funny Bunny and the technique of Soft Fuzzy Fur

I've always been impressed by the old fashioned techniques employed by greeting card artists and children's book illustrators to make furry cute animals look soft and glowing.

This artist picks a basic color for each fur coat and then paints gradients-not cheesy airbrush gradients, but gradients made up fine brush textures. The textures don't fill the entire surface of the fur and they have some variations in texture - unlike many of today's cartoon paintings with cover the surfaces of every different kind of object with the same painting texture and lighting.
The soft fur looks even softer when the characters are juxtaposed against objects that don't have the same technique - like this tree which feels harder by contrast.

This artist is also an expert in controlling colors and fitting them into an overall hierarchy.

These birds have more contrast in their separate colors than the BG of the trees and hills behind them. This makes them stand out from the trees even though they are super saturated primary colors.

The birds themselves are gently broken up into areas of neutral colors and brighter colors. The color differences are not equally saturated and none are pure primary or secondary colors.

Even though the graphic look is quite stylized, it isn't harsh - the color and value choices are all tasteful and guided by nature. It gives you a warm feeling - running down your leg.